For some businesswomen, it’s easier to dress during the fall and winter than it is during the summer. Chilly months allow you to cover up with dressy sweaters, pantsuits and turtlenecks. Some women run the risk of underdressing during the summertime by wearing inappropriate garments such as shorts, tanks and short skirts, especially on hot and humid days. With careful consideration and a few additions to your wardrobe, any woman can comfortably dress in business casual style during a blistering hot summer.
Things You'll Need
Cover up with light-colored suit separates. Buy blazers and slacks that are light-colored and thus won’t absorb as much of the sun’s heat. Feel the material to evaluate whether it is lightweight; many clothing companies make lightweight, breathable suit separates for summer. Use a lightweight blazer at formal meetings or to cover up a sleeveless dress shirt.
Wear dresses and skirts. Though shorts are usually inappropriate for the workplace, you can keep your legs cool by wearing dresses and skirts. Shift dresses are generally the most appropriate option, because many are short-sleeved or have shoulder straps that are wide enough to be appropriate. Dresses and skirts should be long enough that they come to the knees when standing.
Wear white blouses and other sheer clothing. A plain white blouse will match nearly any blazer, skirt or pair of slacks in your wardrobe and is made from material that is both comfortable and cool to wear. Wear sheer clothing only if you wear undergarments of the same color underneath. Sheer clothing can be light and cool, but it’s unprofessional to show too much skin or to wear a white sheer garment with dark-colored undergarments that will show through.
Sport a lightweight cardigan. Wearing a cardigan over a camisole or short-sleeved dress shirt will help you to keep your cleavage covered and avoid inappropriate plunging necklines. You can wear the cardigan while in the office, which is usually air conditioned, and then remove it while outside on your lunch break or while alone in your private office.
Wear dressy sandals or open-toed heels or flats. Flip-flops are not appropriate for a business casual setting. Instead, wear a pair of comfortable dressy sandals or a pair of matching heels or flats that are open-toed. Not only will your footwear complete your ensemble, it will help your feet to breathe during blistering hot weather.
When in doubt, it’s better to overdress at the office than to underdress, especially if you will be interacting with superiors or potential clients.
References and Resources"Marie Claire"; The Smart Girl's Guide to Business Casual This Summer"; Yael Kohen; April 2008
Virginia Tech: Business Casual Attire